Sr. Laurence Mary, Laurie, Rosemary Ashworth, was born in 1932 in Brierfield, Lancashire, a small cotton town in the north of England. She was proud of her origins and of the faith she had inherited from her parents. The only daughter with one brother, she was a tomboy who preferred to play football with the boys in the street than to play with dolls. At the age of 11 her mother sent her to the convent school of the Daughters of Jesus in Colne in the hope of making a lady of her – to no avail!
She was a woman of many talents, a member of the Guides until her death. After her profession in 1953 she taught briefly in St Monica’s parish school in Rickmansworth and loved organising football for the boys. At week-ends she taught catechetics in the parish and on a local RAF base. As her skills were more practical than academic, she later worked in pastoral activities, cooking, archives, gardening, domestic work driving and general mechanical work, a great “fixer”. She was an avid reader of newspapers, journals, local and Church affairs, social and political affairs. She had travelled widely in the British Isles and was a fund of knowledge on everything!
In her later years she developed another passion, the history of Massingham, the, house, the village and the surrounding area. She discovered that pilots of Bomber Command had been billeted in the local Manor House which later became Massingham St Mary, a community of the Daughters of Jesus, and eventually a retreat house. They had flown from a nearby airfield during World War II and many never returned. She developed a passionate interest in the lives of “our boys” and researched widely. She was able to inform their families about what had happened to them. Among her “boys” she had identified some Free French pilots. The last thing she did was to translate a letter for a relative who was very moved to receive it. Her researches have developed into the Massingham RAF Museum, the responsibility for which she had recently handed over to a local curator.
Among her many interests she maintained her love of the Congregation. A faithful Daughter of Jesus, she remained in contact with the sisters of her group in France. She was very disappointed not to be able to join them to celebrate their diamond jubilee in Kermaria in July.
She was a colourful personality who struggled with health problems all her life. She is now free from her suffering. May she rest in peace.